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Thursday 20 September - 09h45 | Stephanie Sieckmann
The first week of the 2018 Tryon FEI World Equestrian Games in North Carolina is over, four disciplines have wrapped up their competitions and four others – jumping, para-dressage, vaulting and driving – are now getting underway. Dressage, endurance and eventing riders from around the world are heading home from Tryon with very mixed experiences, and this halfway point is a good moment to look back at the Games so far. GrandPrix Magazine spoke to Sönke Lauterbach, Secretary General of the German Equestrian Federation, for his view.
"WE WERE AWARE THAT THIS MIGHT BE DIFFICULT FOR EVERYONE"
GrandPrix: A venue landscape resembling a construction site, organizational chaos and storm warnings all left their mark on the first week of the World Equestrian Games in Tryon. Now that Week 1 is over, what are your thoughts on the event so far?
Sönke Lauterbach: We know that hosting the World Equestrian Games for the different FEI disciplines within existing infrastructure is always a challenge. And in this case, we knew that the organizers only had two years before the start of the Games to get ready after being awarded the contract. So we were aware that this might be difficult for everyone and that, for example, we would have to travel a long way to get to the site, as the accommodations for the teams are far away. That's not ideal, but you can live with it. The most important thing is that the horses are fine. And we would have felt safe with our horses even in a storm with wind gusts of 100 km/h. That's what matters.
Grand Prix Magazine: The accommodations for the horses are very good. What about the other conditions?
Sönke Lauterbach: There was a lot of rain, and the roads and parking lots were partly flooded, but the grounds in the stadiums and in the training areas are still very good. Everything dried up very quickly. The cross-country route for eventing was a real dream. I can not remember another championship track which was so fascinating: well prepared, well designed, good challenges, not too heavy, not too light, ideal for sports. Seen from this point of view, as far as the sporting conditions are concerned, one has to draw a positive conclusion. The conditions are very good here.
GrandPrix Magazine: So what points are there to criticize?
Sönke Lauterbach: While the conditions are good for sport, a lot of other things are not so good. We knew that would be the case. But we did not expect it to be so bad. One has to say that too. Our Chef de Mission, Dr. Dennis Peiler, was already here a week before the start of the Games. He called and said that it was worse than we had been expecting it to be. But you also see how something happens here every day. Day by day things get better. We have already had other events where it was difficult in the first week and then it got better as the WEG were taking place. Of course, it’s unfortunate for the organizer, as he wanted to show off his facility and business in a good light...
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